You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Bob Stopper’ tag.

Here we are in 2018, and Grouper is still in purgatory,

aground on a soft smooth bottom created when the Canal is drained,

when the waterway looks like a brook.  I’m told that portions of the Canal in Oswego have been drained as of last week, and I hope to see for myself one of these days.

Grouper, if you are new to this blog, is a stranded Great Lakes tug–sibling to these in Cleveland, and launched in 1912!!

Many thanks to Bob Stopper for these photos.



Jack Ronalds took this photo of Ontario (Jeffrey K. McAllister) and Erie (Missy McAllister) in Canso back in August 2016.

John Jedrlinic took this in the sixth boro in December 2008.

I took the photo below a few months earlier in 2008, as the transfer from Normandy to Ross Sea was happening.

Grouper has been featured here many, many times over the years, but you’ve never seen this much of her out of the water;  it’s “draw-down” time on the Erie Canal near lock E-28A.  These photos come from Bob Stopper a few weeks ago.


From Bangkok, Ashley Hutto sends along photos of a decidedly pastel Thai tug

with two barges

on a hawser.

Thanks to Jack, Jed, Bob, and Ashley for these photos.


More than a week ago, these tanks entered the Erie Canal system at lock E-2 in Waterford.  Sunday afternoon they tied up for the night in Lyons below E-27.  Let’s call the first nine photos here Batch 1.


This morning early, they made their way through E-27 and then on to E-28A.

Here’s a view back toward E-27 and the village of Lyons . . . around the bend.

The forward most barge gets pushed in, unmade from the second barge, and then CMT Otter reverses out with that second barge.

The unaccompanied barge is moved out the upper gates by means of the capstan, a machine as old as the Barge Canal and very infrequently used.

After this barge is moved forward and secured to the wall, the gates close, the lock is drained, the lower gates opened, and the rest of the tow enters to be raised to the level of the forward barge.

These next photos taken west of Newark . . . E-28 B . . . show just how narrow this part of the Canal is, and

silt that’s lain on the bottom gets stirred up.

Here’s an article from the NYTimes, but I wish the author had spoken with a wider range of informants.

Many thanks to Bob Stopper (1,2, 6, 7) , Jason Ladue (8, 9) , and John Van Dorp (3, 4, 5) for these photos.

Now Batch 2, thanks to Bob Stopper.  Bob took this batch this morning very near my “upstate home,”  between Newark and Widewaters.  Note that this batch is moved by HR Pike.  

For a long tow, this part of the Canal  (same as here) is very narrow.

It’s mind-boggling that these inland waters are directly connected to the Pacific Ocean and China, but it’s the case.

The school bus here is crossing the Whitbeck Road Bridge, a span I’ve crossed probably a thousand times . . .

Many thanks to all, especially to Bob Stopper, who was unstoppable in getting these photos just this morning.




Here from Lock E-28A, Bob Stopper’s photo of Canal Corp’s efforts to get the Canal open for season 200!

The rest of these photos come from Jan van der Doe, starting with Sandra Mary, 1962,  in McNally colors and built by Russel-Hipwell at Owen Sound in 1962.

W. N. Twolan, also 1962 built, alongside Menier Consol.

At the end and off the stern of W. N. Twolan, it’s the last side-wheeler ferry to operate on the Great Lakes, PS Trillium, launched in 1910.  To see Trillium after a 1975 refit, click here.

In what I first thought was an unusual military dazzle pattern is actually a 1966 Davie Shipbuilding former cargo vessel that’s been reborn as a floating dry dock.  Click here for Menier Consol transporting pulpwood. 

Last but not least, it’s William Rest, 1961.  Toronto Dry Dock is one of so many places I need to visit.

Many thanks to Bob and Jan for these photos.

You may remember the Sojourn story here, about a Belgian freight barge that the original owner and builder sold, lost track of, and then rediscovered in upstate New York?  Here was how she arrived in upstate NY.

Well, after two years of work, she’s under way–just ahead of winter storm Argos.  These photos were taken yesterday (Thursday) by Bob Stopper up in Lyons, NY.  Below, Sojourn is easing not Lock 28A,


heading for Lock 27, and


and out of the canal before it closes, draw-down takes place, and ice invades.


Calling all eastern Erie Canal watchers and Hudson River photographers, here’s Bob’s short background to the vessel:

“First arrived in Lyons on November 12, 2013 . The boat was built in 1963 and originally used as a coal and materials barge. It was used for over 40 years by the same family, but eventually because of family illness, the barge was sold. The barge was purchased by Paula Meehan, founder of Redken Cosmetics, renamed the Sojourn, and converted in 2006  to a Hotel Barge and used for high style cruises in France. Ms Redken shipped the barge via freighter to America with the intention of cruising American waters, especially the Erie Canal. Unfortunately, Ms Redkin died in 2014, and the barge returned to the Lyons Dydock on October 15, 2014. It sat  in the Lyons Drydock and began to deteriorate  until purchased by a young hi-tech  internet entrepreneur from the state of Washington. The newly renovated barge, 126′ x 18′,  left Lyons on November 17 headed for its new home in the NYC Harbor.”



All photos by Bob Stopper.

You may recall that my connection with Lyons is that it’s the county seat of the county where I grew up.  It’s also the county where Grouper languishes, about to freeze into another canal winter.


To close out April, here (and at the end of this post) a photo of Grouper in Lyons a few weeks ago before the Canal was brought up to level and opened for traffic.  Thanks to Bob Stopper.


How lucky can some people get!?@#!  Bowsprite caught this photo last fall as she was leaving New London harbor.  The tugboat is John P. Wronowski.


From Maraki, it’s Heidi eastbound past cow pastures and


fleetmate Rikki S westbound.


How’s this for an unnamed push boat . . . the one that moves


Martha Lewis when needed, and when no longer needed because the skipjack is under sail, just gets hauled up on davits.    I guess technically this prime mover is not a tugboat, she is a push boat.   Here’s a youtube of Martha Lewis getting trucked away, sans push boat, for repairs.  Anyone have updates on her getting into the water this season?  Click here (and scroll) for a photo of Silk, the push boat dedicated to skipjack Stanley Norman.


And from my visit to Chelsea Creek last week, here’s another shot of (for me) the unidentified small tug, and


in gloucester, it’s  Mikey D with Horizon looking over the stern.


Closing this post out, it’s looking eastbound across Grouper‘s bow.  I’ve said it for years and will say it again, I hope some one takes this project on.



Thanks to Bob, bowsprite, and Maraki for these photos of really random aka sundry set of tugboats.

aka GHP&W 2.  Macedon only became a port when Clinton built his ditch.  The ditch and subsequent iterations connected it to the sea.  When I took the photo below back on Oct 21 2014, eastbound on Urger, I felt very far from salt water.


But Chris Williams’ photo below, taken October 25, 2015, shows how connected Macedon is to the sixth boro and all watery places on Earth beyond the VZ Bridge.   Less than a week ago, I did a post about Margot, the tug frequently-seen in NYC that delivered this cargo to the port of Macedon.


Bob Stopper took the next set photos.  The fact that a Goldhofer semitrailer of 12 axles, 48 wheels,  is needed shows the weight of the cargo delivered across the state by NYS Marine Highway.  The land portion of the cargo transfer is provided by Edwards Moving and Rigging.

01rs12 axels

Here’s a closeup of the hydraulics at the front of the trailer.


Transfer from barge to trailer begins with the jacking up of the cargo.

02rsjacks under cargo


1No passing zone (1024x768)

At this point, there are 96 wheels under and moving the cargo.

2Ninety six wheels under the cargo (1024x768)


3Balancing and raising the barge (1024x768)


4By land and by sea (1024x611)


5Here she comes. Goodbye canal, Hello Plank Road (1024x768)

The next photo taken by Rob Goldman, and taken from the NYS Canal Corporation FB page,  on October 31, 2015, shows how the Edwards trailer moves the cargo, one huge piece at a time, off the barge and into the port of Macedon.


Macedon is one of those place names in central NY named for places or people in classical Greek and Roman history.    Others are Troy, Ithaca, Palmyra, Greece, Athens, Rome  .  .  .  and more;  people memorialized in town names here include Hannibal, Scipio, Pompey, Homer, Ulysses, Brutus  . . . .

Credit for these photos goes to Chris, Bob, and Rob.  My personal connection to Macedon includes the fact that I bought my first car there, less than a half mile from the Canal, and at the time had no clue that it was a port, that it could be connected to the oceans.

Here are previous “port of __” posts i’ve done.

And finally, unrelated, here from another even smaller NY canal port, here’s into on an auction below.


Take a European canal/river barge . . . .  This one was built in 1963 in Moerbeke, Belgium, by Marinus Faasse.  He named it Leja, the portmanteau word for his parents’ names, Lena and Jacob.

Here’s part of the text of an email I received today from Maja Faasse:  “Leja was the second motor barge my parents have built. It is named after our grandparents, Lena and Jacob. Our father, Marinus  … knows every detail.  For about 40 years he made his living on Leja, as did our mother for 34 years after they married. My sisters Leona,  Jaccoline, and I were born and raised on the Leja, and have very good memories and had a very nice childhood on the water. Every vacation from boarding school and most weekends we spent on board. The summer vacations where the best times, 6 weeks of playing and swimming. Our parents had to sell the barge because our mother needed a pair of new knees and recovery wasn’t possible on board, so they had stopped their business with pain in their heart, and sold it to an owner in France, who renamed it Sojo.”


We were planning a trip to France this spring to go find the barge . . . and go look for it. So we contacted the broker for information where the Sojo could be at that time and wanted to see what is still original and what is new.  But . . .


then the broker told us that the owner had renamed it Sojourn and moved it from France to the USA. Later on we also found a picture on the Erie Canal taken in May 2013.

Our father just turned 78 years and his biggest wish is to still visit the Sojourn.”

The photos below were taken in October 2014 by Bob Stopper.  They show her being moved by Benjamin Elliot toward her current location in the Lyons.


Stories like Maja’s move me, and I certainly hope Marinus Faasse gets to visit with his half-century-plus-years creation soon in Lyons, where snow likely covers it.


Click here and here for photos of some other Dutch barges in the northeastern parts of the US.  There may be more, and if so, I’d love to learn about them.  For some motor barges that traveled from west-to-east on the Atlantic, click here for a post I did four years ago.


Many thanks to Maja Faasse for writing.  Also, to Bob Stopper who sent the three photos of Sojourn back last fall.  Also, a tip of the hat to Lewis Carroll for coining the portmanteau portmanteau.

Do you want to do the Great Loop, all 5000+ miles of it?  And you don’t have more than–say–a few days?  How about a few hours on a weekend when the weather’s inhospitable?  Now you can do it . . . and click on the photo below to see what it looks like to do the circumnavigation at warp speed . . .  from Sandy Hook to Liberty Landing in . ..  just over a minute.


That video of one of over a hundred now available on Youtube.  Try this one . ..  Liberty Landing to Croton Point Half Moon Bay in just over two minutes in the rain.  The videos were produced by ActiveCaptain. The vessel, a DeFever 53RPH Trawler,  below is the ActiveCaptain’s version of the google camera car.  Read Bob Stopper’s article on the project here.  Bob also took all the photos in this post.

01A Capella squeaked under Leach Road Bridge in Lyons on  Erie Canal


04A Capella at dock  in Lyons NY (1024x768)

05Karen and Jeff on board a Capella at Lyons dock  (1024x768)-2

03A Capella entering Lock 27 (1024x768)

Many thanks to Bob for info about these videos and these photos.


In case you think i’ve lost my way, I’m planning a 5d post on the ruins in the immediate vicinity of the Erie Canal, and then there’ll be one more zone I want to identify.  After that, I’ll be out of those zones . . .

I am truly stunned by these magnificent photos of gorgeous structures built with rudimentary technology and lasting over a century and a half.

Lock 56 Lyons double chamber built 1850


Lock 56 center island steps


Lock 60 Macedon looking eastward from the center island


Lock 59 Lockville Newark northwest chamber


Lock 58 Newark north chamber


Lock 53 Clyde northwest chamber entrance


All photos and captions come thanks to Bob Stopper, to whom I am indebted for being able to publish these.  For more photos on this area of the canal, click here.   For more historic photos but of the Barge Canal iteration of the waterway, click here.


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,205 other followers

If looking for specific "word" in archives, search here.
Questions, comments, photos? Email Tugster

Graves of Arthur Kill

Click on image below to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

Seth Tane American Painting

Read my Iraq Hostage memoir online.

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.


March 2018
« Feb